Does bad posture cause back pain?

A lot of us have been sitting down more than ever before over the past year. This can mean sitting with rounded shoulders, hunched over a computer, or being on your phone more than ever.  Have these changes in activity left you asking if your posture could be causing you pain?

What are the effects of bad posture on back pain?

I’ve seen an increase in the number clients reporting their backs, shoulders, and necks have been feeling sore.  I’ve heard this from people I’ve seen for physio appointments & attending my Pilates classes. This has mostly been due to inactivity, or working from home at the dining room table. This change in activity can lead to increased muscle tension. This can lead to joint pain, back pain, breathing issues, reduced circulation & fatigue.

Exercise to improve your posture
Demonstrating an exercise you can do at your desk to improve your posture and reduce back pain

Will my back pain go away if I fix my posture?

One of the most common things I hear from my clients is “I’m sure it’s my fault because I sit with such ‘bad’ posture”.  But did you know there is no optimal posture that exists?  Remember we are all individuals, built in different ways!  What is a good (or optimal) posture for one of us isn’t necessarily best for everyone.

I bet that if I challenged you to sit up straight all day your pain would be worse than if you stayed in your normal ‘bad’ posture.  Chances are you’d be dying to adopt a nice comfy slouched position a few hours in! So, it can be a mistake to think that forcing yourself to sit, stand, and walk tall all day will help your pain. Adopting this ‘good’ posture for hours on end is likely to exacerbate your symptoms.

Easy ways to improve your back pain by changing your posture

The best way to improve your posture, is to keep your self moving regularly, and changing position often. As a physio taking regular Pilates classes, I see the huge benefits movement, exercise & a change in position can have on you.

If you’re working from home, see if you can switch between sitting, and making a standing desk. Try and do a few exercises or movements, or get up from your chair every 30 minutes or so for a position change. I’ve made a video of some exercises you can try without even leaving your desk which you can view by clicking here.

If your muscles are feeling tight or tense, take a lie down and give my short relaxation session a go.

Try and get yourself out for a walk. There is no real evidence behind walking 10,000 steps per day specifically improving your health. However, if having that as a goal keeps you more active, then that can only be a positive thing! Getting out in nature has a wealth of mental health benefits as well as physical ones. Never underestimate the value of a few minutes of getting out and moving in the fresh air!

If you’re looking for ways to keep yourself moving at home, then try my free Banish Your Back Pain mini Pilates course. This is a great way to ease your back pain, and introduce some movement to your day.

So next time your back, neck, or shoulders start to ache from sitting still, try changing position, or some gentle movement to ease those pains!

If you found this article helpful, and are suffering with back pain, then you might want to take a read of my tips on settling sciatica here.

Posted in Blog.